The politics of prominent women supporting men accused of sexual harassment are complicated. Can the sisterhood really require that we reverse our own positive judgment of a male friend or colleague based on the word of a stranger, as long as that stranger is another woman? On the other hand, nearly every male predator (or alleged predator) enjoys the support of some women, from our president to Bill Cosby. Even Ted Bundy had female fans. Clearly female voices of support are not in and of themselves exonerating.

There seems to be a strange fallacy that if a man didn’t sexually harass or assault you, then he couldn’t possibly have sexually harassed or assaulted anyone. We see this time and again with high-profile cases and those that never make the news: women are trotted out in defense of men accused of wrongdoing, and their main defense seems to be: “I’ve known John for years, and he’s never been anything less than a gentleman.”

It’s as if sexual harassers and assailants sexually harass or assault literally every woman they come across, and are not in fact discerning and strategic, often targeting women who have less power or social capital.